Gun Safes Don’t Need Power [Except For These Reasons]

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If you are one of the many people that wonder if gun safes need power, this article is for you! 

Short answer, no, gun safes do not need power to be able to operate! This is because for the essential functions of a safe, they either run off battery or are completely mechanical.

Does an electronic lock need power?

Gun safe electronic locks do not need to be plugged in to get power. For full size gun safes the majority of locks out there run off of a 9V battery. This battery is easily able to be changed out, even when the door is closed.

Most pistol safes all use a rechargeable battery that just needs to be plugged in!

How often should you change the battery in your lock?

How often you change a 9V battery out of your electronic lock really depends on how often you use it. However I would recommend just changing it out every time you change out your smoke detectors.

Both can save your life!

Do gun safes have a key backup?

Many lower end gun safes that are equipped with an electronic locking mechanism do come equipped with a key backup.

Normally the lock will be right behind the digital lock. All you have to do is either twist, or push up on the electronic lock, and it will be able to be pulled off of the safe.

From there you should see where to put the key, and open the safe.

Keep in mind though, many higher end gun safes do not offer a key backup, as they tend to use higher end digital locks and the key backup would hurt the safes security more than help it at that point.

What parts of a safe do need power?

There are actually quite a few items in a gun safe that may need power to function correctly. However none of them are absolutely necessary for the safe to open, or lock.

Interior lighting

Having lighting on the interior of a gun safe is a common addition. Much like a closet, it gets rather dark in the back of the safe (or at night obviously), so many people will purchase a safe with lights on the inside, or even add them afterwards.

Most gun safe lighting accessories do tend to have the need for plugging into a standard home outlet, and will require you to run power to the safe.

If this is an issue for you, I would recommend making sure you find battery operated versions.


Of the things in a safe I would highly recommend, the dehumidifier is at the top of that list! If you are on the search for a dehumidifier, you likely have stumbled upon the rod dehumidifier, which tends to be the most popular.

Unfortunately these types of dehumidifiers, along with some others do have the need to be plugged in. If you can’t do this, you will need to keep shopping for a dehumidifier that is able to use batteries, or no power needed.

For those of you that need that, a desiccant dehumidifier, or a battery operated one like the Eva Dry are probably your best bets.

Whatever you do though, make sure to have one of these in your safe, as they will keep rust, and mold away from your very stagnant safe.

USB plugs

Many people use their safes as storage for hard drives, or even just to charge their devices. Because of that, you will find some safes have USB plugs built into them. However those USB plugs need power somehow!

That means, if you want this feature to work, you will have to have your safe plugged in.

Different ways to run power to your safe

There are three different ways you can run power into your gun safe. You can either run a cord right through the dehumidifier hole, or you can purchase a full out electrical panel for the inside of your safe. 

The final way, is to just purchase a gun safe that already has an electrical panel included, which then you plug in just like a computer.

How to put a cord through the dehumidifier hole?

Many gun safes out there only come with a small opening in the bottom, back, right corner of the safe. Some have a hole that goes right through to the interior, and others have drywall on the other side.

For those that have drywall, you definitely need to make sure you drill through that drywall, and then you should be able to put a cord through it.


So there you have it! We have learned that gun safes don’t need to have power run to it for the essential functions. However you can have power run to it for other accessories that gun safes have as add ons!